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AI – Environmental Friend or Foe?

Recently, there’s been much discussion about the potential benefits that artificial intelligence can bring to climate change regulation. 

For example, advanced technology, such as satellite data, is being used to identify large emission events — (see ELM’s recent methane rule finalization coverage here and ELM’s previous AI coverage here). AI also is being used to monitor rising sea levels along the United States’ coastlines — (see ELM’s previous sea level coverage here). 

Less consideration, however, has been given to the potential adverse impacts …

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EPA Enforcement Alert: It’s Critical for Community Water Systems to Review Cybersecurity Protections

The Environmental Protection Agency earlier this week issued an enforcement alert, explaining cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities to community drinking water systems (CWSs) and actions needed by these systems in order to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

The alert is part of a government-wide effort – led by the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – to reduce the nation’s infrastructure and cybersecurity vulnerabilities. EPA issued the alert because threats to, and attacks on, the nation’s water system …

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Hand with a spatula renovating the paint.

Don’t you know that you’re toxic? EPA spears most uses of controversial solvent.

In late April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a ban on most uses of methylene chloride, a toxic solvent used for paint stripping and linked to over 85 deaths in the last 45 years. The ban forbids all consumer use of the substance, as well as most industrial and commercial uses. TheEPA did not completely ban all uses — it did allow some exemptions for the military, in addition to makers of climate-friendly coolants and electric-vehicle components.

Users often employ methylene chloride to refinish bathtubs …

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Attorneys General from 23 States Petition to End EPA’s Use of Disparate Impact In Regulating Pollution

Attorneys General from 23 states have filed a petition for rulemaking with the Environmental Protection Agency demanding the agency stop using Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when regulating pollution. The petition, the main signatory of which is Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, comes on the heels of a decision in Louisiana v. EPA, No. 2:23-cv-692, 2024 WL 250798 (W.D. La. Jan. 23, 2024), where the EPA was enjoined from enforcing any Title VI based requirements on the state based on …

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Chevron with the Wind? In What Might be a SCOTUS Preview, Federal Courts Chip Away at Expansive Regulatory Interpretations

Regulations — and executive agencies’ interpretation of those regulations — can make or break companies, and even entire industries.  For decades now, the judiciary’s approach to administrative review, found in the landmark 1984 case Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. National Resources Defense Council, largely deferred to government agencies’ interpretation of their governing statutes on the grounds that such agencies were best positioned to interpret those statutes. “Chevron deference” became a foundational framework for administrative law.  

But in recent years, critics have argued that Chevron

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EPA Issues Final Emission Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency announced March 20 final national pollution standards applicable to cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles. These standards apply to vehicles manufactured beginning in 2027. The new standards will be phased in on vehicles manufactured until 2032. 

The EPA estimates the new standards will avoid more than 7 million tons of carbon emissions. The standards also are estimated to provide over $100 billion in net benefits to society – including $62 billion in reduced fuel costs and $13 billion in public health …

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The Fishing Case that Could Put the Chevron Doctrine Out to Sea

On January 17, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, No. 22-451, an environmental-law dispute concerning fishery management in federal waters.       

The case reached the court via a petition of four commercial fishing companies challenging a federal fisheries regulation, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which provides that the National Marine Fisheries Service can require private vessels to “carry” federal observers onboard to allow for the enforcement of the agency’s regulations (federally-prescribed fishing “catch” limits being the most …

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Sterile storage of medical and surgical instruments in the dentist's office. View from above. Closeup shoot.

FDA Finally Recognizes EtO Sterilizing Alternative as the World Becomes a Force Majeure Pile-Up

Perhaps nothing has proven the indispensable value of commercial sterilizers more than the devastating worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Without the highly effective and efficient commercial sterilizer ethylene oxide (EtO), we would not have been able to rely on lifesaving sterilized medical equipment and supplies – such as cotton swabs for nasal-swab testing, masks, ventilators, and thermometers – to get us through the past four years. Moreover, maintaining basic hospital functionality and everyday healthcare needs outside of the pandemic requires sterile equipment and supplies simply for civilization …

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The flags of the North Carolina state and United States of America waving in the wind. Democracy and independence.

North Carolina Joins Growing List of U.S. Environmental Justice Policy Proponents

At the end of October, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 292, which reestablishes the Secretary of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board (EJ Board) as the Governor’s Environmental Justice Advisory Council (EJA Council), originally established by the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Michael Regan, who previously served as North Carolina’s DEQ Secretary.

In a “whole of government” approach to policymaking, EO 292 also directs equity-promoting actions that reflect the needs communicated by local communities overburdened …

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EPA Announces Latest Actions to Address Hydrofluorocarbons

Nearly one year after ratifying the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the Environmental Protection Agency announced two additional actions to further this initiative under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM).  The Kigali Amendment is an international agreement aimed at phasing down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (“HFCs”) by 80-85 percent by 2047. It also seeks to avoid up to .5 °C of global warming by 2100.

By way of background, HFCs are used in applications …

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